Some relationships seem to withstand the good, the bad, and the, well, maybe not ugly, although…yes the ugly too. Other’s seem to withstand time spent apart. You have a way of picking up right where you left off.
I’ve found the Word to be like that, like a relationship. Even though sometimes I have to go back to get my bearings, this is what reading God’s Love Letter has become to me. A relationship. And I want to take back what I said about those bad kings in Kings.
It’s as important that I understand the full scope of God’s history—before, during, and after His time here, just as much as I would want anyone to understand the full scope of me–the good, the bad, and the ugly. And there is all of that in the Love Letter and all of that in me.
God doesn’t hide a thing. Neither should I. I want to understand it all, to take it in, and let it make its mark on me, let Him make His mark on me. Just as I would want anyone to understand all of me. And me them. Thank goodness for grace.
And I take back what I said about Chronicles, which I started yesterday and am still deep in the 1st Chapter today. I had to go back. And guess what? It’s fascinating this time! Even though I can’t figure out who Seir was. Who was Seir? He had sons. But how remarkable to see the names I have just read about up to this point. and now know more about.
This time I take time to recognize them. Each name, so important, a life lived—good and bad—birthed, breathed, and buried. Parents, siblings, communities. Each with a story.
From Adam to Noah to Abraham to Esau to Seir (who is Seir?) and the kings who reigned before any Israelite king. Fascinating. From Esau’s brother Jacob, to Jacob’s sons, you see all of the lands of Israel and Judah unfold from the names of those sons.
The fourth son of Jacob (aka Israel, you know, the father of Joseph with the coat) is Judah. Judah had five sons. Judah married a Canaanite woman (we don’t know her name) but they had a wicked son namer Er who at the hand of the LORD, died. Then Judah went to bed with his daughter-in-law (Er’s wife) Tamar who bore Perez the father of Ram. Hang in there.
From Ram came Boaz. From Boaz to Obed to Jesse to David the seventh son, and his sisters Zeruiah and Abigail.
I take it all back. This is family history! Not to be ignored. But who is Seir?
The Gospel of Luke begins by calling Jesus the son of Adam. Matthew begins by calling Jesus the son of David. Promises are foretold and revealed. From Old to New. Lightening. Revelation. It all ties together. I take it all back.
Sometimes I find it hard going back and forth between the Old and New Testaments. Each draws me in. It’s hard to park, pick up, and pull out for a new destination only to circle back. The scenery has changed and you completely forget what you just drove through. You feel lost for a bit. But this can also be a good thing. You go back. You slow down.
I don’t want to just drive past the scenery in Acts 20. There are stop signs at corners for a purpose. I resist the urge to roll through and come to a full stop because the signs contain messages that might apply to you and me:
Stop. Verse 22: Paul is compelled by the Spirit…not knowing what will happen. (The Spirit is with us. )
Stop Verse 23: The Holy Spirit warns that hardships are coming. (He nudges. He guides. He protects us.)
Stop Verse 24 (note to self, memorize): I consider my life worth nothing to me. My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the Good News of God’s grace.
And verses 25, 29, 32, 35, 36…they all contain wisdom to be applied to our lives. It’s really endless you know. But then it’s important to keep moving forward in this relationship, to make the full journey together.
I emerge changed each time. Sometimes with remorse, other times amazed, and at other times with inexpressible joy, but each time we’re together, I leave changed. God doesn’t hide the fact that he was angered by the Israelites, or that His jealousy was aroused, or that he was furious and rejected them completely. But the story continues, showing his absolute commitment to rebuilding relationships based on trust, forgiveness, and love…I take it all back.